March box office established a record for the frame with a tally of $ 323.3 million. It was a significant 12% ahead of last year and 3% better than the old record for the month set in 1992.

Oscar was very much the key factor of the month. “Schindler’s List” and distrib Universal emerged as the top grossing title and the market share champ. Universal had a clear berth to the top, grossing $ 62.9 million for a 20% market share. Buena Vista was again a bridesmaid, with its releases repping 15.4% of the March pie.

Top titles

The race for top pic was decidedly closer, with the multi-Oscared “Schindler” a whisker ahead of Paramount’s “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.” The month was dominated by new releases with the exception of Fox’s leggy “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Following “Schindler” and “Gun,” March’s top titles (in descending order) were: Warner Bros.’ “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “On Dangerous Ground,” TriStar’s “Guarding Tess,” Fox’s “Sugar Hill” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” New Line’s ” 8 Seconds,” Savoy’s “Lightning Jack” and Buena Vista’s “D2: The Mighty Ducks.”

Admissions are estimated at 76.43 million, ranking the month the second best stub tearer to March 1992. The current year was off the record pace by approximately 1.5%.

Savoy had the healthiest indie finish with 4.7% in March. Non-studio fare accounted for almost 7% of the monthly total.

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